All About Robin Nests and Robin Eggs

Learn where to look for a robin's nest, what robin eggs and baby robins look like, how long baby robins stay in the nest and more.

robin eggs in nestCourtesy Laureen Prendergast
Bright blue robin eggs in a nest

Robins’ Nest Construction

In a robin couple, a male brings his female partner nesting material as she constructs the robins’ nest. The female builds the cup-like nest with mud as its foundation and lines it with grasses, twigs and other plant material before laying bright blue robin eggs.

“I’ve watched American robins start building nests. Sometimes they come to the birdbath with dry grass and dip it in the water several times. Why do they do that?” asks Leona Schroeder of Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Mud is an essential part of robin nest architecture. The foundation is constructed of mud that holds the nest together like cement. The mud is typically gathered from a ready source, such as the edge of a puddle or earthworm castings. In drier years, robins have to be more resourceful and manufacture their own mud. They’ve been observed carrying dirt in their bills to a birdbath to soak, and splashing in a birdbath before flying to a spot of dust and shaking the water off. There’s a good chance that the birds you observed were soaking nest material to make mud.

Here’s how to attract robins to your yard or garden.

robin nest with nestlingsCourtesy Linda Rappel
A robin feeds nestlings

Where Do Robins Build Nests?

Robins nest all across Alaska and Canada and in most parts of the lower 48 states, except for the hottest southern regions. They build cup shaped nests on branches or ledges. Robins will also happily nest in planters, on windowsills, and in other nooks and crannies around a building. The birds may use flower petals or scraps of paper, string, or cloth on the outside of the nest. It may look like they are simply decorating, but these things serve as camouflage by breaking up the dark outline of the nest, helping it to blend in better with the patchy light and shadow in a tree.

Do birds reuse their nests?

How Long Does It Take for Robin Eggs to Hatch?

Female robins lay only one bright blue egg per day and typically lay three or four eggs total, seldom a clutch of five. The female incubates robin eggs for about two weeks. Learn what to do if you find a bird nest with eggs or a baby bird.

How Long Do Baby Robins Stay in the Nest?

Caring for youngsters usually requires around 13 days in the nest and several more days after they leave or fledge. Both parents feed the young. A pair of American robins feeding a hungry family deliver 100 to 150 meals a day to the nest. Each baby robin may eat its weight in insects, worms and berries in a day. 

What is a fledgling? Learn the five stages of a baby bird’s life.

American robin juvenileWILLIAM LEAMAN
American robin juvenile

What Do Baby Robins Look Like?

Baby birds often don’t resemble their parents, and baby robins classic example. They have dark-spotted breasts during their first summer, rather than reddish orange ones, and buff speckling along their backs and breasts. Watch as they scamper across the lawn, mimicking the adults as they hunt for worms and other insects. Baby robins eventually lose their spots as they grow up. Robins raise up to three or more broods a year, especially in the southern part of the United States. 

Check out more super cute photos of baby birds.

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Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard.